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Second Anti-Piracy Patrol in the Gulf of Guinea

  • 21 Nov 2023
  • 7 min read

For Prelims: Gulf of Guinea(GoG), INS Sumedha, Gulf, Anti-Piracy Patrol, International Fusion Centre (IFC)

For Mains: Maritime Security Cooperation and Pirate Burden on Countries, Maritime Security and Related Concerns

Source: TH

Why in News?

The Indian Navy recently completed its second anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Guinea(GoG) in the Atlantic Ocean, with the Offshore Patrol Vessel INS Sumedha playing a pivotal role in this mission.

  • The maiden GoG anti-piracy patrol was undertaken by INS Tarkash in September/October 2022.

What are the Key Highlights of the Second GoG Anti-Piracy Patrol?

  • INS Sumedha operated in the GoG undertaking a 31-day anti-piracy patrol, which is on an extended-range operational deployment in the Atlantic Ocean along the West Coast of Africa.
    • Sumedha’s deployment also ensured enhancing Navy to Navy connection with regional navies including Senegal, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Angola and Namibia.
  • INS Sumedha's deployment aimed to boost regional partners' capabilities through joint training, emphasizing India's commitment to the philosophy of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam'-The World is One Family.
  • The objective of the patrol was to deter and prevent piracy and armed robbery at sea, protect the Indian and international merchant vessels, and enhance maritime security and stability in the region.

What are the Key Facts About the Gulf of Guinea (GoG)?

  • The GoG is an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean on the western African coast, extending westward from Cape Lopez in Gabon to Cape Palmas in Liberia.
    • A gulf is defined as a portion of the ocean that penetrates the land. They are formed as a result of plate tectonics and are often connected to the ocean by narrow water passages known as straits.
  • It is found at the junction of the Prime Meridian and the Equator at 0°0’N and 0°0’E.
  • Major rivers that drain into the Gulf of Guinea include the Volta and Niger rivers.
  • The GoG is one of the world’s most dangerous gulfs because of the widespread piracy that has severely affected many countries in West Africa along with other international countries.
    • The number of vessels attacked by pirates in the gulf is about 100 every year.
  • The GoG region accounts for more than 35% of the world’s total petroleum reserves.
    • Several minerals including diamonds, uranium, copper, etc., are found here.
  • The principal economic activities of the Gulf of Guinea region are petroleum exploration, mining and gas flaring, port operations, and fishing.
  • The 16 coastal countries that are situated along the Gulf of Guinea are Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gabon, Nigeria, Ghana, São Tomé and Principe, Togo and Sierra Leone.

What Strategic Significance Does the Gulf of Guinea Hold for India?

  • The Gulf of Guinea holds immense strategic importance for India's national interests, being a significant source of the country's energy requirements.
    • In recent years, Nigeria has been one of the main sources of crude for India lies in GoG, the country emerged as the fourth-largest supplier of crude oil and Liquefied natural gas (LNG) to India in 2020.
  • The GoG is also a region of security concern for India, as it faces the challenges of piracy, armed robbery, terrorism, and transnational crime.
    • India has been a victim of piracy incidents in the GoG, as several Indian nationals have been held hostage by pirates in the past.

INS Sumedha

  • INS Sumedha is the third of the indigenously developed Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel (NOPV) of the Saryu class deployed for multiple roles independently and in support of Fleet Operations.
    • The ship is equipped with several weapon systems, sensors, state-of-the-art navigation and communication systems and an Electronic Warfare system.
  • INS Sumedha is aimed at meeting the increasing ocean surveillance and patrolling requirements of the Indian Navy.
    • The primary role of the ship is to undertake exclusive economic zone(EEZ) surveillance, anti-piracy patrols, fleet support operations, provide maritime security to offshore assets and carry out escort operations for high-value assets.
  • Participated in the maiden India-EU Joint Exercise in the Gulf of Guinea, showcasing international collaboration in maritime security.
  • Played a crucial role in Operation Kaveri, contributing to the evacuation of the Indian diaspora from war-hit Sudan in April 2023.

What are India's Initiatives Related to Maritime Security?

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Prelims

Q1. With reference to ‘Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC)’, consider the following statements: (2015)

  1. It was established very recently in response to incidents of piracy and accidents of oil spills.
  2. It is an alliance meant for maritime security only.

Which of the statements given above is/ are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (d)

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